In Greece. Brief thoughts about aesthetics and innovation.

We’re in Greece. Today is the first cloudy day in months. I’d be depressed about this if I hadn’t predicted it, which somehow makes it hilarious. Don’t worry, I’m sure it will clear up tomorrow.

My submission of The Infinite Ocean to IndieCade has been rejected. I’m not surprised or sad, though I do regret wasting the money. The work I do has never been relevant to the “official” indie/gaming scene and it probably never will, and I should remember that. The comments I got were really interesting, though.

The first one goes:

This is a competent point-and-click with a nice aesthetic and pretty good writing. It doesn’t really offer anything new or particularly deep, and it’s rather short, but it’s well executed and worth the time it takes to place.

And the second one, after saying some rather positive things, concludes:

As for the game itself, impoverished graphics and iterative audio and the lack of real challenges penalize it strongly in perspective of a competition.

Impoverished graphics. Nice aesthetic. I think this little paradox says a ton about the way we still approach the visual aspect of games. (No, I wouldn’t change the graphics if I had the option. The visual design of the game is part of the story.)

The contradiction actually continues. The second comment goes into detail about the game’s philosophical underpinnings, not really making it sound like it’s “not particularly deep.” The two comments are basically inverted versions of one another. One says the game is nicely made but shallow, the other says the game is deep but badly made. I find these contradictions fascinating and amusing.

Finally, the point about the game not offering anything new reinforces my feeling that too many people blindly follow some kind of belief in “innovation” – which of course mainly refers to the purely structural or the flashy, to innovation for the sake of innovation. I’m not interested in that. I don’t believe that the quality of art is determined by its position in the timeline. Being new doesn’t make it good. Being good makes it good.

And you know what? The Infinite Ocean is The Infinite Ocean. It doesn’t need to apologize or to explain itself. It does not need to struggle to claim an identity. It is unique because it is itself.

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